Jammu, October 8: In the first urban local body polls held in the last 13 years, a polarised voter turnout was witnessed in Jammu & Kashmir, with the Valley electorate largely adhering to the boycott call, whereas, their counterparts in Jammu overwhelmingly exercising the right to franchise.
Despite the civic polls being abandoned by the majority in Kashmir Valley, an overall voter turnout of 68.83% was recorded due to the unprecedented voter-participation in Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu. Muslim Voters in Jammu Defy Poll Boycott Call; Slam NC, PDP.
"Total voter turnout was 63.83% till 4 pm today in the first phase voting for the local body elections in 11 districts," said District Election Officer Ramesh Kumar.
As per the district-wise figures released by the State Election Commission, the maximum voting was recorded in Rajouri (78%), followed by Poonch (72%) and Jammu (59%).
The figures reflect the turnout till 4pm, when voting ended. However, the numbers are likely to be revised as voters queued up outside some of the polling booths were allowed to cast their mandate for an additional 30 minutes.
In Kashmir Valley, the overall voting till 3pm was recorded as 17.5%. The maximum electorate turnout was witnessed in Kupwara, where 32.2% polling was witnessed.
In the first phase of civic polls, a total of 422 wards were contested, including the 75 seats of the Jammu Municipal Corporation. Since the NC and PDP announced a poll boycott, the prime contest was between the Congress, BJP and the National Panthers Party.
In the second phase of the polls, scheduled on Wednesday, 384 wards will be contested, followed by third-phase elections on October 13 when 207 wards will be up for grabs. In the fourth and final phase of local body elections on October 16, 132 wards will be contested. The counting of votes is slated for October 20, when the results will be announced.